One point from Vile and Everton at home. That’s relegation form. Accruing less than one point per game. Relegation form. 4 home wins in 2015. Relegation form. Three points from Watford, Swasnea, Sunderland, Stoke and Chelsea. Yes, relegation form. Steve McClaren is a bull-shitter. I’ve tried to give him time. I liked a lot of what he had to say at the start of his tenure. He’s now just blagging it. Pre-Everton it was about ‘keeping the run going’. ’14 points out of 9.’ ‘We’re improving.’ It’s all bull-shit. It’s insulting. Even if you believe him, ‘the run’ has not seen us pick more points than Norwich and Bourmeouth in the same period, so it’s literally a pointless ‘run’. We could have the last 4 games of the season, already relegated and I get the feeling he’d be delighted with the ‘run.’
Let’s talk about our run under McClaren. Gifted two home ties in the League Cup, McClaren’s side went out at home to Sheff Wed reserves. In the league, his side find themselves with 17 points from 18 games. Not the best run. The defeat to Everton was sickening. I thought we’d get beat, so a point would have been welcome. We deserved to lose, but could have won. Everton are average and Martinez hugely underachieves with the resources at his disposal, yet the gulf in class in the sides was scary at times. It’s not bad luck when you have less than 60% possession at home. Fair enough, it’s a plan, to concede possession and play like the away team, but it’s a plan that relies on you taking the few chances that you’ll get. At least we’re creating chances. That’s the one ray of hope I’m clinging to. Leicester first half of last season were a shambles, but they were creating chances and that was something. Besides that though, you’re struggling to see how we stay up.
West Brom are a lucky side. They’re organised, but their points total should see them in a relegation scrap. Incredibly we’re only two points behind West Brom and would move ahead of them with a win. No wins in their last five. This is exactly the type of game Pulis is good at winning, the games he has to. We’d be 5 points behind them with a defeat. If we’d have beaten Vile and Everton, we’d have moved miles ahead of Vile and level on points with Everton, as it is they’re miles away from us. Most of West Brom’s good work has come on the road this season. At home they’ve only beaten a terrible Sunderland side and bizarrely, Arsenal. They’ve lost to City, Chelsea, Everton, Leicester and Bouremouth. That’s poor. They’re without two first teamers in Rondon and McClean who were sent off against Bournemouth.
With Arsenal around the corner it’s a game we need to take something from. Defeat would leave us with 17 points from 20 games (after Arsneal). We’d be relegated. McClaren isn’t the man, but if he has anything about him he needs to win this game. They’re a massive side. He should bring De Jong back in. Winjladum is anonymous away from home, but I’ve no idea who you replace him with. I miss Obertan.
Prediction: 0 0
ALEX HURST – Follow Alex on @tfalex1892